Best Place to Go When You're Waiting to Be Seated Somewhere Else - 2003
Hanson's Grill and Tavern
Single-handedly saving South Pearl from the yuppie invasion, Hanson's Grill and Tavern offers a comfortable oasis amid all the SUVs and boob jobs. After its opening last summer (in the former home of the beloved Oak Alley Inn), this mellow neighborhood eatery quickly became a favorite of construction workers and corporate types, frat boys and professors on hiatus, drunken poets and families out for a night on the town at a place where they don't have to show off their new nipple piercings just to get through the door. With its deep, snug booths and dark-wood tables, its rough brickwork and exposed pipes, Hanson's has the feel of a perfect post-grad college bar -- the kind of place you want to become a regular at in your twenties and still be a regular at twenty years later. The food is surprisingly good, too, with a fairly creative menu offering everything from simple pastas and burgers to herb-rubbed grilled salmon steaks, green-lip mussels and po' boys, at prices even a po' boy can handle.